I wouldn't mind a job that allowed me to be on my feet most of the day. Not only would it make the time go by faster but I'd get in some exercise too. However, many people have jobs that require sitting all day in front of a computer monitor. The benefits of course is that you are likely in an air conditioned setting, you are relaxed for the most part, and you probably get your own office or cubicle space. The downside is that you probably get bored sitting in one place for 8+ hours a day, you may tend to snack more because of it, and you are likely noticing some weight gain.
Many health articles have come out recently discussing the dangers of sedentary jobs. The biggest being that gaining weight is often a negative side-effect. Our bodies aren't meant to sit for such long periods of time without any form of physical activity. Yet, we do so day in and day out. Add to this the meals that we consume. If your meals consist of dining out during the day, you are adding extra fat and calories that add up by the end of a work week. If you're busy and tired by the end of the day, you probably aren't fitting in any type of exercise either. It's all a bad combination that can lead to obesity, heart disease, and other health related issues.
What You Can Do Right Now To Stop the Cycle
The first thing you must do is create a change in the meals you're eating. Have you ever gone out to lunch with your co-workers, eat a typical lunch-type meal such as a sandwich, pizza, or even pasta? About twenty minutes later while you're sitting at your desk you suddenly feel so sleepy you could take a nap right then and there? Well, I refer to that feeling as being in a foma (food + coma) - a food coma. What is really happening is that you've probably consumed a high amount of "bad" carbohydrates (white flour, refined sugar) and you're feeling the crash which causes you to feel sleepy.
I went on like that for years at my very first desk job. I'd eat a huge lunch and top it off with a trip to Starbucks to get an overly sweet coffee drink. I'd get to my desk and want to crawl on top of it and take a nap. Obviously that doesn't make for a good impression at work!
1. Prepare your breakfast and lunches before you go to bed - I started doing this and it saves me so much time in the mornings. Frankly, I won't rush to make breakfast or lunch in the mornings. There is no time in my schedule. However, if I make extra at dinner, I'll toss the leftovers in a food container and take it for lunch. While I'm cooking, I'll make some egg whites and vegetables for breakfast. Done and done.
2. Replace breakfast (or lunch) with a shake - No not a milkshake on the way to work but a really high quality meal replacement shake or a protein shake that you can blend really fast in the mornings. More often than not, I drink my shake for breakfast because all it requires is some almond milk, water, and a hand-held blender. Fastest breakfast ever and it keeps me full until lunch.
3. Avoid the bad carbs at breakfast and lunch especially - The bad carbs (white bread, sugary drinks, cookies, etc.) will keep you gaining weight when eaten on a regular basis, especially when you're sitting all day. Enjoy your meals but say no to the bad carbs during your work day.
Exercise - You Can Fit it In
There is some point in your day where you have a few hours to yourself before heading to bed. How you spend that time is important. Fit in your quality time with your family and devote at least 30 - 45 minutes to some exercise. An entire hour would be even better. If you don't know how to exercise at home, here are some tips:
- DVD player - use it! - Get a good workout program like P90X that works the entire body or whatever type of workout you like that is on DVD. If you've always wanted to workout like an MMA fighter, then check out RushFit. Maybe you are a fan of Jillian Michaels - she has tons of DVD workouts. Put your dvd player to good use.
- Use your body weight - Calisthenics are awesome, interval training is fun, and body weight exercises are easy and convenient. Utilize all three and you can have an intense workout right at home. Good recommendations: Craig Ballantyne's Turbulence Training program or FitDeck Body Weight cards.
Don't let a desk job ruin your health. There are ways to combat the negative health effects of sitting all day. It's just a matter of staying positive, focused, and working around it.